April has been a good month for my writing: high productivity, a story sale, a story publication and an acceptance to a workshop that I really wanted to get into. On the other hand, my submission numbers took a dive. For the most part, the stories I have out on submission have been at their respective markets for several weeks or months. I just haven't been getting a lot of responses lately. On the month's word count: 4,000 words are a short story, and the rest of it is an outline for my urban fantasy novel and writing the first three chapters.
This quarter: Honorable mention. Including my silver honorable mention, which seems to be a category that no longer exists, I now have an even dozen HMs. I don't know whether to be proud of that rather dubious accomplishment or go bang my head on a desk. I am in the middle of reading the most recent Writers of the Future anthology, and I can see how this story doesn't fit the style of the stories that are winning. It's a good story, but in this case, I sent it to the wrong editor. Oh well. It happens. A lot.
Early April is always a busy time for me. Two of my children have birthdays (six days apart from each other), and this comes two weeks after my third child had his birthday in late March. We're sick of cake in my household now. Also, my husband and I celebrate our anniversary. As of tomorrow, we will have been married for 11 years. We'll celebrate sometime over the next week with dinner and a movie, probably "Draft Day" because he loves football and I like Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.
With so much going on, I'm having difficulty finding time to write, but I've managed it. I've written about 5K since the start of the month. My goal is 500 words a day before I head off to work. Most days, I've hit the goal, but not every day. For instance, I spent this morning cleaning the front yard and fertilizing the grass before the next snowstorm rolls through tomorrow (we're expecting 4 to 8 inches of wet, heavy white stuff). On days when I'm not working up a sweat in the yard, I'm finishing up the third chapter of my novel project. When that's done, I'll go back to working on my outline. I am confident that I'll have the pages and outline into the best shape possible to submit for the novel workshop I'll be attending in June.
The day job continues as it always does. Some weeks are emotionally difficult, though, and this past week was one of those. As a newspaper wire editor, I read about a lot of awful stuff. In fact, most of my job entails immersing myself in the worst of humanity eight hours day, five days a week. One of my co-workers calls it performing journalistic triage. And yet, I'm able to compartmentalize most of it. I'd go crazy if I didn't, or at least exist in a state of deep depression. My one major weak spot, the thing I can't push aside, is when bad things happen to children. This week, I've dealt with a stabbing rampage at a high school; a 4-year-old girl dead after a car rammed into her day care; and five high schoolers, and five adults, burned to death after a FedEx truck smashed into their bus. This week has been hard.
This week was already a good one, and now it has become even better. I'm doing a happy dance because my flash story "Kitty is Alive, Kitty is Dead" has been accepted for publication in Daily Science Fiction. This will be my second story published in DSF, the first one being right here.
In other happy news, it looks like I'll be attending the Science Fiction & Fantasy Novel Writers Workshop this summer at the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. I'm very excited about this, even if the workshop is held at the University of Kansas, which is the archrival of my own alma mater, the University of Missouri. Ha.